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Christina Rossetti

             Childhood and family experiences greatly influenced the nineteenth century romantic.
             Rossetti's poems are generally short and simple, but elicit a deep emotional response. Her references to the link between nature and emotion create a romantic atmosphere. .
             Rosetti maintained the romantic spirit through syntax, always using the style of an irregular rhyme scheme. This form of poetry represents her past experience, her family, and her interpretations of her surroundings. As poet Maurice Bowra wrote, "Christina finds herself in her poetry when emotion has conquered her words, when then creates her most characteristic poetry" (Packer,29).
             Born in London to an Italian family, Christina was the youngest of four children. Rossetti's parents, Gabriele and Frances Rossetti, had an interest in poetry and introduced it to their children at a young age. Maria was the oldest followed by Dante Gabriel. Next came William, and finally Christina in 1830. All four children found an interest in poetry and other arts. Dante Gabriel, Christina's closest sibling, became a well-known artist and featured Christina in one of his most famous paintings, "The Girlhood of Mary.
             Virgin" (Battiscombe56). Christina found no interest in schoolwork, and her parents decided to "home school" her. This is when her passion for poetry began. When she was nine years old she wrote her first poem and continued to write throughout her life.
             As Rossetti entered adulthood, she continued to use her life experiences to dominate her poetry themes. It was her preoccupation with the outdoors, her "office" when she wrote, that solidified nature as the subject of her romantic approach. She tended to refer to flowers, birds and trees in many of her reflections. Typically, Rossetti made these references to show emotion. This is another characteristic of romanticism. When she spoke of nature, her feelings were usually content.

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